The NBA is in good hands.
While LeBron James may finally be ready to cede his spot atop the Association’s hierarchy, a handful of young superstars are filling the void. Outside of James, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant, most of the NBA’s brightest players are in their 20s with promising futures ahead.
Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks asked Shaquille O’Neal to identify his top-five players ready “take over the league.” The former Los Angeles Lakers icon had plenty of options.
He started with Giannis Antetokounmpo, the oldest player on his list, and current postseason opponent Jayson Tatum.
After pausing and asking for help, he quickly jumped on Rooks’ suggestion of Ja Morant before adding Luka Doncic.
For the fifth and final spot, Shaq chose Donovan Mitchell over Trae Young.
They didn’t mention any age cutoff, but it’s likely O’Neal and Rooks didn’t consider Nikola Jokic. However, the 27-year-old is the same age as Giannis on the heels of winning his second straight MVP award.
Joel Embiid is also just a year older than his fellow MVP finalists.
Devin Booker will hope to prove he belongs alongside this group by taking the Phoenix Suns back to the NBA Finals, but it’s hard to argue against any of Shaq’s selections.